Members of the Wheeling Fire Department, alongside Wheeling city council, city administration and local leaders broke ground for the city’s new fire headquarters in East Wheeling Tuesday morning.
The new facility, located at the corner of 17th and Wood Streets will relocate the department from its current location in the bottom level of the Center Wheeling Parking Garage. WFD has been headquartered in Center Wheeling since 1978.
“We have patiently waited this day to come for quite some time, and finally, through many, many months of discussion and preparation, a first-class facility awaits for the Wheeling Fire Department and the City of Wheeling,” Wheeling Fire Chief Jim Blazier said. “The planning of this project started under the leadership of retired Fire Chief Larry Helms, and I cannot thank him enough for the hard work he did during the initial stages of this massive task. I also am grateful to our city administration – especially City Manager Robert Herron, Mayor Glenn Elliott, city council and all the many firefighters and city employees who worked hard to make this day happen.”
The East Wheeling site was chosen because of its centralized location to the city for response times and allows quick and easy access to US 250 and Interstate 70.
Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott added, “It has been an absolute honor to serve on the Wheeling City Council that not only recognized the need for new facilities for our first responders but also took the difficult steps of funding them. This new headquarters for the Fire Department is going to serve the citizens of this community well for generations to come. And it is going to give our firefighters a state-of-the-art facility with much-improved functionality and a very convenient, centralized location.”
The building will be a 24,860 square feet single story structure, with several needed amenities. The newer, modern facility will be equipped with space for additional trucks, areas for hands-on training, including a hose drying/training tower, a large training room, offices for command staff and spacious bunk rooms/sleeping quarters for firefighters.
“This wonderful new facility will serve the Wheeling Fire Department for many years to come. It is well thought out, in a perfect location and capable of handling the future needs of the community for the fire department,” said Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron. “The commitment that the Wheeling City Council has made to first responders – first with the police headquarters project and now with this spectacular project, as well as other investments is recognition of the importance of public safety services to its citizens. Special thanks go out to retired Chief Larry Helms and current Chief Jim Blazier and his team of fire staff, who meticulously laid out this building as well as M&G Architects and Engineers who put these ideas into the design of the new headquarters. I look forward to the successful construction and ultimately, ribbon cutting, of this exciting new facility.”
Site preparation started in late April with the demolition of several structures on the property. The $9 million-dollar construction project is expected to be completed by late 2023. The new building was designed by M&G Architects and Engineering of Wheeling. PCS & Build LLC of Cleveland, Ohio is the general contractor for the project.